In the News—Week of May 3 2021

 In The Title Trove

Around the Nation

NYC mulls bill that would mandate lease for retailers

The New York City Council is considering a bill that would allow retail tenets to extend their leases over the objection of the landlord, The Real Deal reports. On leases longer than a year, the bill would allow retailers to renew for up to one year with no more than a 10% rent increase. “COVID-19 continues to exacerbate the chronic struggles small businesses face and we must act creatively and boldly to establish new rights and protections for them that puts them in a better negotiating position with a right to renew their leases,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer explains.

Energy & Environment

Drones help find candidates for energy efficiency projects

UMass Lowell is using drones with infrared cameras to show where buildings or underground steam pipes are losing heat in an effort to identify potential energy efficiency projects, Environmental+Energy Leader reports. The drones could “potentially be a game-changer in terms of doing energy audits on a large, rapid scale,” says Christopher Niezrecki, a mechanical engineering professor at UMass Lowell. The school is putting together a thermal map to prioritize projects.


Built-to-rent communities a big hit in Houston market

D.R. Horton has been building homes for homeowners, but this past winter it built 124 houses in Woodlands for renters. D.R. Horton leased the houses and then sold them to an investor for $31.8 million, at a margin about twice what a builder gets for a home it sells.  More than 7,500 build-to-rent homes have been developed in the Houston area, according to the RCLCO, a real estate advisory firm. The trend seems to benefit investors and renters, but some are worried about the long-term effect it will have on the tradition of home ownership.

Dallas led nation in construction, second in CRE investment during pandemic

Dallas-Fort Worth was the country’s top construction market during the height of the pandemic, and the metroplex drew the second-highest property investment in the first quarter, The Dallas Morning News reports. Both figures come from Real Capital Analytics. The area saw 347 construction projects, worth $17.7 billion, begin in 2020. Dallas and Nashville were the only top 10 markets that had increases in construction.


Phoenix suburb of Gilbert among the leaders for biggest rent increases

Suburban Gilbert ranked No. 2 in the country in percentage growth of average rent payments, AZ Big Media reports. A survey by shows that Gilbert saw average monthly rent increases on a one-bedroom apartment of 26% over the previous year. That ranked below only Kansas City, Missouri, which saw an increase of 33.5% on one-bedroom apartments. Gilbert was No. 6 in increase for two-bedroom apartments, with a jump of 30.1%.


DocuSign comes to Mexico, seeks to digitize real estate agreements                                        

Electronic signature company DocuSign started operations in Mexico and says it will help modernize the country’s real estate industry by digitizing paperwork, the Yucatan Times reports. “When an organization uses DocuSign eSignature, it saves an average of $36 pesos in resources for each contract made compared to paper agreements,’’ Gustavo Brant, vice president for Latin America at DocuSign, told a press conference. “Furthermore, 80% of all successful transactions on our platform are completed in less than 24 hours and 44% in 15 minutes.”

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